Geometrical considerations in imaging the solar corona

David Alexander, Sergei Katsev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

X-ray observations of the solar corona show that it is comprised of three-dimensional magnetic structures which appear to be primarily in the form of fluxtubes or loops. Imaging the X-ray corona has led to a greater understanding of the dynamical behaviour of and the energy distribution in these magnetic structures. However, imaging observations, by their very nature, integrate along the line of sight resulting in a two-dimensional representation of the actual three-dimensional distribution. The optically thin nature of the solar corona to X-ray radiation makes the integrated images particularly difficult to interpret. The analysis of the two-dimensional observations must, therefore, inlcude the effect of the orientation of the coronal structure to the line-of-sight direction; a fact which is almost always ignored. In this paper we discuss the effect of loop orientation on the two-dimensional representation and argue that these effects may lead to a misinterpretation of the physics occurring in the structures observed. In particular, we discuss observations taken by the Soft X-ray Telescope (SXT) on board the Yohkoh satellite, taking account of the instrumental thermal response, spatial resolution, and point-spread-function. We test the effect of geometry on the determination of the loop pressure by considering equatorial loops at various longitudes and discuss the implications of this for studies of coronal soft X-ray loops.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-166
Number of pages14
JournalSolar Physics
Volume167
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996
Externally publishedYes

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